earthship greenhouse greywater planterThe onset of Earthship greenhouses and their necessity as a household utility.

contributed by
Jeane Nardone, Michelle Locher & Dan Dynan
photo: Dan Dynan

Earthship structures and the developmental creation of these buildings transcend the typical practice of greenhouse management. These greenhouses fill the gap between greenhouses as a hobby and commercial greenhouses. The onset of Earthship structure transforms greenhouse management from a hobby to practicality. They have advanced themselves into a necessity in these households in order to maintain utilities. This will require a new kind of participation to keep grey water clean, the septic system healthy, to maximize your water usage and for food production. In the Greater World Community, we are constantly trying to create a better, more passive toolbox for what is needed to keep greenhouses healthy – to keep us healthy.


In constantly striving to create an efficient and sanitary greenhouse, we have to take many principles in hand. One of the main ideas involved is the contrast between outdoor and indoor gardening practices. Inside of the greenhouse, unlike the outside garden, you take on the role of Mother Nature as your responsibility to ensure that the greenhouse will not flail.  It is a different level of maintenance and participation altogether. 

One primary example is the idea of decomposition. Anything that is decomposing does not have a place in the greenhouse. Decomposition happens outside and once completing its break down cycle, can be brought back into the greenhouse in the form of compost. If there is anything decomposing inside of the greenhouse you run the risk of inviting pests or fungal activity that could create an unhealthy environment. 

Any outdoor ecosystem design based principles revolving around plants and their orientation and functionality will not translate directly in an indoor planting environment.  Participation is required for every cycle that takes place in the greenhouse. The goal of the greenhouse is to keep plants in their growing stage and climax points. Once a point of decomposition is reached you will risk the sanitation and cleanliness of the grey water and household environment.  An important point within a greenhouse is that it remains hygienic and sanitary. An Earthship greenhouse is part of your home and therefore part of your living area. This is one of the main reasons that the greenhouse be kept free from dead plant matter.

Taking on the role of Mother Nature inside an Earthship greenhouse is a challenging undertaking and requires constant attention, and makes one realize how superior Mother Nature really is to anything humans can do. Some of these roles include but are not limited to creating rain with a hose to clean the plants and discourage bug pests; pollinating by hand certain plants for them to become productive; facilitating ventilation, which also discourages pests and provides a healthier growing environment; continuously bringing in nutrients to supplement the soil; being involved with each plant every day so you can know what is required by them and notice any changes and work with them, before they become a problem.

With this level of participation, it is possible to grow many kinds of foods right inside your Earthship, throughout every season of the year, no matter where in the world your Earthship home is, to sustain you and your family as well as keep you healthier by having that very important connection directly with the Earth every day. This is what is so rewarding and at the same time knowing that all this has no impact on the environment.